Alia Volz in conversation with Paul Yamazaki
Tuesday May 5, 2020, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
Home Baked: My Mom, Marijuana, and the Stoning of San Francisco
by Alia Volz
published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A blazingly funny, heartfelt memoir from the daughter of the larger-than-life woman who ran Sticky Fingers Brownies, an underground bakery that distributed thousands of marijuana brownies per month and helped provide medical marijuana to AIDS patients in San Francisco—for fans of Armistead Maupin and Patricia Lockwood.
During the '70s in San Francisco, Alia's mother ran the underground Sticky Fingers Brownies, delivering upwards of 10,000 illegal marijuana edibles per month throughout the circus-like atmosphere of a city in the throes of major change. She exchanged psychic readings with Alia's future father, and thereafter had a partner in business and life.
Decades before cannabusiness went mainstream, when marijuana was as illicit as heroin, they ingeniously hid themselves in plain sight, parading through town—and through the scenes and upheavals of the day, from Gay Liberation to the tragedy of the Peoples Temple—in bright and elaborate outfits, the goods wrapped in hand-designed packaging and tucked into Alia's stroller. But the stars were not aligned forever and, after leaving the city and a shoulda-seen-it-coming divorce, Alia and her mom returned to San Francisco in the mid-80s, this time using Sticky Fingers' distribution channels to provide medical marijuana to friends and former customers now suffering the depredations of AIDS.
Exhilarating, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreaking, Home Baked celebrates an eccentric and remarkable extended family, taking us through love, loss, and finding home.
Alia Volz is a homegrown San Franciscan. Her writing appears in The Best American Essays 2017, the New York Times, Tin House, Threepenny Review, River Teeth, Nowhere magazine, Utne Reader, New England Review and the recent anthologies Dig If You Will the Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince and Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California. A 2018 MacDowell Colony fellow, Volz has also been an Artist in Residence with Writing Between the Vines and the Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat. The Squaw Valley Community of Writers awarded her the Oakley Hall Memorial Scholarship twice. She was runner-up of The Moth's GrandSLAM Championship in 2014 and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Paul Yamazaki is the chief book buyer at City Lights Booksellers and has been a life-long booktrade advocate serving on many boards of non-profits and literary organizations.